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Swedish Title: Ljuset håller mig sällskap

Cinematographer Sven Nykvist’s work with Ingmar Bergman is considered one of the key collaborations in modern cinema, and in Light Keeps Me Company, directed by his son Carl-Gustav Nykvist, we are treated to rare home movies, family photos, behind-the-scenes footage, excerpts from his films, and recollections from friends and co-workers. Considered one of the greatest cinematographers of all time, Sven enjoyed a behind-the-camera career that spanned five decades with 123 films to his credit. He won Oscars in 1972 and 1983 for his work on the Ingmar Bergman films - Cries and Whispers and Fanny and Alexander, respectively. It was in his early films with Bergman -The Virgin Spring, The Winter Light - that Sven first began to forge his reputation as a master of lighting.

Stellan is included among the many actors and directors who worked with him. They had two collaborations. In 1987 Nykvist was the cinematographer for The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and then four years later, he wrote, directed and filmed The Ox.


light1t.jpg (17071 bytes)"Film workers are an interesting clan since they exist under very strange circumstances. They're like olden day wandering jesters moving about the country with no fixed abode. And with Sven, I feel that his capacity to take responsibility for relationships is somewhat diminished by all that. He is very open and warm-hearted and his relationships are genuine during those three-month periods. But he always moves on."

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"What stopped me in my tracks was the light. It was as though you could grab hold of the lighting, which he had created. It was so enormously sensual, living its own life. It almost felt as though the lighting was closer to you than the set was without its getting in the ways of the actors in any way at all."

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"Cameramen I meet abroad, once they know I'm Swedish, always ask me if I met Sven Nykvist, if I know him and if I've worked with him. 'How does he do it?' they ask too. He's one hell of a damned great icon when it comes down to it! I'm asked many more questions about Sven than about Bergman, except by actors. They want to know what Bergman's like. But the crews are much more interested in Sven."

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light2t.jpg (16648 bytes)"It was interesting with him as director. He can't really direct at all. One of the first days on The Ox, we had an actor, a very good stage actor, who came along and acted away like hell. I saw how uncomfortable it made Sven, who really knows when things work in shot or not. But he's not equipped to give an actor directions. So he asked me what to tell him. So I tried to think of something. 'Tell him to keep it simple.' 'Great!' said Sven and used it all the time. The only direction he'd give the actors was 'Keep it simple!'"